In lieu to alleviate poverty through agricultural growth and development, the delta state government has registered over 30,000 farmers across various sectors to boost production of Cassava, Oil Palm, Rice and Fisheries through the Anchor Borrowers Programme organised by the CBN.
The aim of the program is focused on providing food in excess for local consumption and industrial raw materials for agro-industries, employment and poverty alleviation.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr Austin Chikezie said ” that through the scheme, qualified commodity out growers are assisted to identify an anchor firm (off taker or Processor) and supported with loan at nine per cent interest rate to increase their farm holdings in the state’’.
The commissioner said that for oil palm, government had commenced the raising of 220, 000 improved oil palm seedlings for distribution to 250 farmers for cultivation on 500 hectares of Oil palm plantations.
He also noted that it cost the government about NGN115 million to fabricate five mini-oil mills which is now ready for distribution to farmers.According to him, the oil palm programme will create 100 direct jobs and over 300 indirect jobs in the state.
“In rice production, plans are on to ensure that rice cultivated in the state meets international standards, even as the state government has approved NGN51 million to boost its production by ensuring all season farming.
“Government intervention in fisheries, particularly in aquaculture, has yielded results with more than 5,000 being currently engaged in various clusters across the state through cooperatives societies.The annual fish production has increased from 15,273 metric tonnes in 2008 to 24, 413 metric tonnes in 2016’’.
He said that the state government in 2015 introduced and distributed the new improved pro-vitamin A-Beta carotene cassava cuttings, sprayers, agro-chemicals, insecticides and fertilisers to farmers in the state.
The governor appointed the state Chief Job Creation Officer, Prof. Eric Enoh, as the committee chairman.
He said “This is in consonance with our electoral promise to reform the agricultural sector for the purposes of wealth creation, boosting employment, achieving value addition and sustainable economic growth.
Other term of reference of the committee includes: identifying existing and potential markets for agricultural produce and device measures and arrangements for farmers to access those markets.